Tennessee Cut Reaches 20-Percent

Nashville, TN – Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says a budget shortfall that is now expected to reach one-billion-dollars will require cutting up to twenty percent of most state department's spending plans. Bredesen told department heads in August to prepare for a three percent cut. That figure was revised in November to ten percent. Since then, the worsening outlook has led the governor to dial up those cuts, first to 15 percent and now to 20 percent. Pre-kindergarten through high school education is the only area the governor wants to protect from the deep spending cuts. Bredesen says the budget crunch will likely require a further reduction in the state's work force, either through layoffs, buyouts or extending a hiring freeze.